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Vladimir Petrov vs Paul Keres
Estonia-Latvia team m (1938), Tallinn EST, rd 2, Mar-08
Dutch Defense: Classical. Ilyin-Zhenevsky Variation Modern Main Line (A99)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
Petrov's only win over Keres.
Premium Chessgames Member

According to Petrovs biographer <Andris Fride>, this game was "adjourned as a win for white by Dr. Euwe."

[Fride, Andris "Vladimirs Petrovs: A Chessplayer's Story from Greatness to the Gulag" Caissa Editions, 2004, p.111 ]

Jul-17-18  ZonszeinP: Hello.
Unfortunately i'm unable to find that book ..
I wish i could
Premium Chessgames Member

Good evening <ZonszeinP>.

You can buy this book for $21 American funds on

Currently there are 4 copies, new and used, on offer:

I bought my copy 7 years ago and I don't remember where I got it or how much I paid for it.

My copy is full of bent pages and notes I scribbled all over it. It also has many old coffee stains and such on it.

I love my old book though...

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Strange assessment of the final position by Euwe (really Euwe?). I wonder what way of winning he had in mind.

click for larger view

White to move

1) +0.31 (58 ply) 74.Rg5 Rh8+ 75.Kf7 Rb8 76.Rh5 Rb7 77.Kg8 Ke6 78.Kf8 Rb8+ 79.Kg7 Kd6 80.Rf5 Rb7 81.Kh6 Rb8 82.Re5 Rh8+ 83.Kg5 Rb8 84.Kg4 Rf8 85.Rf5 Rb8 86.Rg5 Rb7 87.Kf3 Ra7 88.Ke4 Ra4+ 89.Kf5 Rb4 90.Kg4 Rb1 91.Rf5 Rg1+ 92.Kh5 Ke7 93.Rc5 Kd6 94.Rc6+ Kd7 95.Kh6 Rg8 96.Rc3 Kd6 97.Rc1 Rb8 98.Rc6+ Kd7 99.Rc5 Kd6 100.Rh5 Ke6 101.Rg5 Rf8 102.Re5+ Kf6 103.Kh5 Rg8 104.Rg5 Rb8 105.Kg4 Ke6 106.Rc5 Kd6 107.Rh5 Rb7

2) +0.31 (57 ply) 74.Rf6+ Kc5 75.Rf5+ Kd6 76.Rg5 Rh8+ 77.Kf7 Rb8 78.Rh5 Rb7 79.Kg8 Ke6 80.Kf8 Rb8+ 81.Kg7 Kd6 82.Rf5 Rb7 83.Kh6 Rb8 84.Re5 Rh8+ 85.Kg5 Rb8 86.Kg4 Rf8 87.Rf5 Rb8 88.Rg5 Rb7 89.Kf3 Ra7 90.Ke4 Ra4+ 91.Kf5 Rb4 92.Kg4 Rb1 93.Rf5 Rg1+ 94.Kh5 Ke7 95.Rc5 Kd6 96.Rc6+ Kd7 97.Kh6 Rg8 98.Rc3 Kd6 99.Rc1 Rb8 100.Rc6+ Kd7 101.Kg6 Rxb5 102.Rc2 Rd5 103.f5 Kd6 104.f6 Rd3 105.Kf7 Rf3 106.Rd2+ Ke5 107.Re2+ Kd5 108.Ke7 c5 109.f7

3) +0.31 (57 ply) 74.Rf8 Rh4 75.Rf6+ Kc5 76.Rf5+ Kd6 77.Kf7 Rg4 78.Kf6 Rg8 79.Rh5 Rb8 80.Re5 Rf8+ 81.Kg5 Rb8 82.Kg4 Rf8 83.Rf5 Rb8 84.Rg5 Rb7 85.Kf3 Ra7 86.Ke4 Ra4+ 87.Kf5 Rb4 88.Kg4 Rb1 89.Rf5 Rg1+ 90.Kh5 Ke7 91.Rc5 Kd6 92.Rc6+ Kd7 93.Kh6 Rg8 94.Rc3 Kd6 95.Rc1 Rb8 96.Rc6+ Kd7 97.Rc5 Ke7 98.Kg5 Kd6 99.Re5 Rf8 100.Kg4 Rg8+ 101.Kf5 Ra8 102.Re6+ Kd5 103.Rc6 Rf8+ 104.Kg5 Rg8+ 105.Rg6 Rb8 106.Kg4 Rb7

15.0 minute analysis by Stockfish 9 v010218

Jul-17-18  ZonszeinP: <jessicafischerqueen> thank you very much
Jul-18-18  Straclonoor: I wanna add some more.

According to Lomonosov TB7:
After 54.Kxh4 - draw
Final position - draw too

Jul-18-18  ZonszeinP: So, Petrov never beat Keres then
Premium Chessgames Member

<ZonszeinP> Sure he beat Keres in this game if Keres signed his score sheet.

They didn't have computers or table bases back then.

I know what you mean though. In terms of objective reality on the board, we can say that the game is a draw.

Premium Chessgames Member

Further documentation on this game, and this match, from <hemy>: Vladimir Petrov (kibitz #636)


<<Tallin 1938 (March) Estonia vs. Latvia> The Latvian - Estonian chess match was held in the Tallinn Stock Exchange premises on March 7-8, 1938. Latvia team defeated Estonia 9.5:6.5.

1st round (March 7, 1938) results:

Petrov - Keres 0.5-0.5
Apšenieks - Šmit 0-1
Feigin - Raud 0.5-0.5
Berg - Turn 0.5-0.5
Hazenfuss - Friedeman 1-0
Koblenc - Laurin 1-0
Ozols - Laht 1-0
Melngailis - Sep 0.5-0.5

Latvia - Estonia 5:3

2nd round (March 8, 1938) results:

Petrov - Keres *
Apšenieks - Šmit 0.5-0.5
Feigin - Raud 0.5-0.5
Berg - Turn 1-0
Hazenfuss - Friedeman 0.5-0.5
Koblenc - Laurin 0.5-0.5
Ozols - Villards 0-1
Melngailis - Sep 0.5-0.5

Latvia - Estonia 3.5-3.5 (1)

2 days result: Latvia - Estonia 8.5:6.5 (1).

<<<The game Petrov - Keres was adjourned 2nd time. Since Latvia team had to return to Riga, the game was sent to arbitrator Max Euwe and was recognized as Petrov's win.>>>

The final result of the Latvia -Estonia match - 9.5:6.5.


"Valdības Vēstnesis", March 8, 1938, p. 2; "Rīts", March 8, 1938, p. 3; "Brīvā Zeme", March 8, 1938, p. 9; "Kurzemes Vārds", March 9, 1938, p. 1; "Rīts", March 9, 1938, p. 6; "Šaha Māksla", March 10, 1938, p. 4; "Segodnia", March 11, 1938, p. 8"; "Latvijas Kareivis", March 10, 1938, p. 6; "Brīvā Zeme", March 11, 1938, p. 12.>

Premium Chessgames Member

More information on some of the mysteries involved in the history of this game--


<1. The Euwe mystery:>

<whiteshark> posted <Strange assessment of the final position by Euwe (really Euwe?)>

It seems that it really was Euwe, and he really did adjudicate this as a win for <Petrovs>:

"As the Petrov-Keres game was not finished, even after the second break, due to a lack of time the game will be sent to the world champion Dr. M. Euwe for evaluation. Euwe's decision will be binding on both parties." Euwe decided the game was a win for White.

-A.J. Gillam, "Tournaments of 1938" (The Chess Player, 2017), p. 9.

Gillam attributes the section of the preceding passage in quotation marks to "Sacha Maksla" 1938, p.68.


<2. More bad luck for Paul Keres, who might well have said "I was unlucky- like this chess game.">

Final position after 73...Rh1

click for larger view

Keres wrote out his analysis before the final adjudication was made:

<Keres' 1st analysis of the final position>:

"It's really hard to decide if White can win, but in practice the position is more likely to lead to a draw because, in this position, Black's defence is much easier to manage than an attempt by White to win. There is little purpose in 1.Rf6+ Kc5 2.Rc6+ (or 2 Kd8 Rh7) 2... Kxb5 3.Rxc7 Rh8+ 4. Kd7 Rh7+ 5.Kd6 Rxc7 6.Kxc7 Kc5! etc.,"

Position after 6...Kc5! in Keres' 1st sample line:

click for larger view


<Keres' 2nd analysis of the final position>:

"...the best seems to be 1.Rg5! Rh8+ 2.Kf7 Rb8 3.Rh5 Rb7!

click for larger view

and I cannot see how White can win because 4.Kg6 is answered by 4...Ke7! 5.Rh7+ (or 5.f5 Rb6+ 6.Kg7 Rf6! etc.) 5...Kd6 6.f5 Rxb5 7.f6 Rb1!

click for larger view

and White can no longer win because 8.Rh5 can be followed simply by 8.c5! etc.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if Dr. Euwe can find a winning idea in White's favor, but in my opinion, it is more than questionable."

-A.J. Gillam, "Tournaments of 1938" (The Chess Player, 2017), p. 9. Keres' analysis was originally published in "Eesti Male" (1938), p.39


The "final mystery" will remain unsolved unless <Euwe> published his analysis, and we can manage to find that analysis.

Premium Chessgames Member

Still more information on this controversial game, courtesy of <chesshistoryinterest>:

Vladimir Petrov (kibitz #946)

<In "Uus Eesti", 17 February 1939, Page 2

in the leadup to the 1939 Estonia-Latvia match, discussing the result of the 1938 match, the Estonians had already recognised Euwe's error and the writer complains something like: "due to Euwe's erroneous decision in Petrovs-Keres, the score was 9.5 - 6.5, but should have been 9 - 7.">

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